MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The official retail numbers for November are in and it looks like good news for brick and mortar stores. Sales tax revenue up for in-store purchases and online purchases from this time last year.
“It has a lot to do with a lot of pre-Christmas sales and Black Friday sales," said Melissa Warnke with the Alabama Retail Association.
According to numbers released by the Alabama Department of Revenue for the month of November, sales tax revenues for in-store purchases was up 4 percent. Online purchases also increased by 75 percent. The Alabama Retail Association says there is a reason for this.
“This is the first November and first holiday season Alabama has been able to enforce is online sales tax collections. That means a huge stream of revenue for the state,” said Warnke.
Taking a closer look back at 2017 just over $7 million was collected in simplified sellers use tax. In 2018 more than $13 million collected.
“It leveled the playing field for retailers to be able to compete at the same level and not have that disadvantage of not having the online sales tax,” said Warnke.
Stephanie Brown, owner of Welle Studio, a specialty women’s boutique on Cloverdale road said there bottom line felt the impact.
“It was the biggest player in our sales being down. Internet shopping is so convenient," said Brown.
She said with every one on the same level now they are changing their approach.
“We rely on social media, Facebook and Instagram. It is a huge marketing tool," said Brown.
In the new year they are preparing to implement a full website to hopefully drive more traffic into their store and offer even more to their customers.
“Once the website is up we will rely heavily on that to drive people in store and online," said Brown.
The sales tax revenue numbers for December will not come out until February. The Alabama Retail Association anticipates it will follow suite with November’s numbers and could be many retailer’s biggest Christmas season yet.
The simplified sellers use tax which is collected from online purchases goes directly to the state and is put into the general fund and is a growth tax.